Winning Poker Network, an online network that supports numerous online poker websites around the world, has reported a surge in the demand for Bitcoin payouts.
While the poker network has supported a variety of cryptocurrencies since 2014, WPN CEO Phil Nagy stated that the company had to make more BTC purchases than ever due to the demand triggered by the recent price move past $ 17,000 and $ 18,000 in a few days.
“We have to constantly start buying Bitcoin – a lot,” said Nagy. He estimated that even before this recent price hike, the WPN was paying out more than $ 100 million in BTC every month, about 60% of all transactions on the network. Extrapolated to the 95% of payouts that Nagy reports currently make, and assuming the same volume, that would add up to about $ 158 million in Bitcoin per month.
According to Nagy, the majority of customers who play poker on the network live in the United States, which may help explain their preference for crypto as a medium of exchange, as online gambling is legal in only 11 of the 50 states. The CEO, who is based in Costa Rica, admitted not checking whether players are filing their winnings for tax purposes.
“It’s a chore to break the law, not really the adoption Bitcoin should come to,” said Reddit user HighFivePuddy. “Not exactly great PR.”
Bitcoin and online poker have a long history together and there are many parallels between them popular card game and crypto trading, right down to the terminology of “know when to HODL.” Former and current professional poker players have been deeply involved with crypto, including Blockfolio co-founder Ed Moncada and Doug Polk, who also runs a crypto YouTube channel.
One of the biggest crossover moments in crypto and gambling came last year when WPN set a Guinness World Record for the largest crypto jackpot for online poker winnings – $ 1,050,560, or about 106 BTC at the time.
Our $ 5 million Venom was a success in more ways than one. We’ve set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS ™ title for the largest cryptocurrency winning jackpot in an online poker tournament with a payout of $ 1,050,560 in Bitcoin. @WPN_CEO #vine #venomtournament pic.twitter.com/1E2I3WjCgE
– Americas Cardroom (@ACR_POKER) July 25, 2019
Even with this level of acceptance within the online gambling world, Nagy said the WPN usually converted Bitcoin it received from players directly into fiat to avoid the volatility. However, that won’t be the case for much longer if the demand for Bitcoin payouts continues to rise.
At the time of publication, Bitcoin costs $ 17,831, an increase of more than 9% in the last 7 days.